The word cyber crime has become a well-known word these days because of the
increase in cybercrime incidents. The word cyber crime is a combination of two
words, cyber and crime. The word cyber means things related to computer or
internet and the word crime means evil or an illegal act or deed that is
Online crime is on an upward trend, according to the crime report. 2,08,456
incidents were reported in 2018, rising to 3,94,499 in 2019, which increased
significantly to 11,58,208 cases and 14,02,809 cases in 2021. It is a hard fact
that the first two months of 2022 registered a massive amount of cybercrime i.e.
The growth in cybercrimes is alarming. Increasing the number of cybercrime
incidents annually is a burden on the already busy investigative system. This is
evident from records of National Crime Records Bureau which shows that on an
average 65.81 per cent of cases were pending for investigation at the end of
each year.[i] This shows a bleak future as this pile up and increase in the
number of cases will eventually break down the investigation system unless
drastic step is not taken to reduce the rate of cyber crime.
Causes Of Cyber Crime:
- Economic Cause:
Financial gain is one of the most common causes of cybercrime.
Gone are the days when one had to go to a lonely street and wait for the sunset
to steal, loot or cheat. Now access to a bank account is 24x7 x365. Financial
gain is a major reason for motivation to commit cybercrimes.
- Easy Access To Mobile:
A mobile device has become less expensive and more
powerful due to the high competition in this segment. Cheaper data packs and a
faster network have made mobile devices faster and now able to handle almost all
activities that used to be done by computers. Mobile devices have become a
powerful weapon in the hands of cyber criminal to commit cyber crime.
- Lack Of Technology Awareness:
Lack of basic technological knowledge is one of
the key drivers of cybercrime growth. Even educated people ignore the technology
empowerment that results in becoming a victim of cybercrime. Negligence of
cybersecurity measures can be fatal and cause monetary losses. For example, in
phishing crimes, victims themselves provide critical financial details that are
used negatively by Cyber Criminals to commit cyber crime.
The concept of privacy is a personal choice and varies from one
individual to another. Divulging too much information on social media platforms
can be fatal. The lack of awareness of the privacy option available on social
media is a concern as it may be exploited by cybercriminals.
Impact Of Cyber CrimeEconomic Impact:
Financial losses due to cyber crime are enormous. According to
a report published in 2019, Rs 1.25 lakh crore was lost due to cybercrimes.
Every year, thousands of people and businesses fall victim to cybercrimes like
phishing and ransomware. According to one report, more than 78% of enterprises
have been affected by ransomware attacks.
A cyber criminal uses various techniques to commit cyber crime
and one the common method is texting or chatting and luring into an emotional
relationship which latter converts into blackmailing and harassment. The victim
may suffer from depression and, in some instances, has even committed suicide.
The physiological loss of cybercrime requires focus and study.
Diversity Victim Profile:
A cybercrime victim may be a minor, young or elderly
person. There are different types of cybercrime, which is why victims of
cybercrime have different age groups. Young children are more likely to be
victims of cyber crime because they are unaware of it. For instance, the Blue
Whale Challenge game where the players have to complete different task including
self harm and suicide.[ii]
Cybercrimes And The Role Of The Social WorkerPreventive Role:
A social worker can play an important role in preventing cybercrime, especially among students, especially school children. There are
certain signs or behavioral changes that a social worker can recognize and
conduct counseling. A social worker can discuss things like cyberbullying and
how it affects an individual.
Cybercrime causes huge physiological problems in certain cases,
especially when the victim was emotionally attached to the cyberattacker. In
cases of extortion where the victim has shared personal photos or videos the
victim may suffer from guilt and fear. In such cases, counselling is very
important as the victim lives in constant fear or guilt.
The law related to cyberspace is contained in the Information Technology Act,
2000, which was amended in 2008. The Information Technology Act has introduced
and covered new areas of application, such as electronic records, digital
signatures, cybercrime, etc. The technological world has changed the way we
live, learn and communicate. Now we share pictures, stories, thoughts on the
digital platform. We see, comment, agree and disagree on digital platform. We
purchase online and sometimes sell online and so do contracts.
The new advantage brought by the technology brought its vulnerability in the
form of cybercrime. Prevention is better than healing is rightly said for
cybercrime, because most cyber crimes are preventable if proper education and
counselling are conducted. Most of children and youngster are becoming a victim
of cybercrime and has a social worker a vital role to play in prevention and as
well as a counselor. Unfortunately, the role of social worker has been ignored
in the case of cybercrime and the victim suffers in silence.
Written By: Savita Yashvant Kale
, MSW, Yashwantrao Chavan School of
Social Work, Satara
I am thankful to Dr.Shaly Joseph
(Incharge Principal) for her
encouragement in research work